Patients at Beacon Medical Group feel they are listened to, given enough time and are seen promptly by their GP, new figures show.
Latest data from the GP Patient Survey, published at the end of last month, shows the practice has improved on last years’ scores in many areas such as patient waiting times, giving patients adequate time with the clinician and ensuring patients fully understand test results.
The Group, which serves 40,000 patients across five sites, also scored above the national average in over half of the 23 categories.
Nearly three in four patients (74%) say they normally wait 15 minutes or less after their appointment time to be seen, compared to only 64% nationally, whilst nine in 10 patients say the last GP they saw or spoke to was good at explaining tests and treatments to them – a 5% increase on Beacon’s score last year and 4% above the national average.
Beacon is also bucking the national trend with regards to patients saying they were able to get an appointment to see or speak to someone the last time they tried. Nationally data shows 84% of patients feel able to access an appointment should they need one, for Beacon patients that figure increases to 88%.
The Group has implemented new ways of working since the data for the survey was collected, between January and March this year, and whilst results in areas such as the convenience of appointments and ease of getting through to the surgery by phone aren’t where the practice would like them to be, they are confident next year’s results will be more positive.
In April of this year the Group started offering nursing appointments all-day to meet patient need, as opposed to just morning or afternoon clinics, and this has reduced the waiting time for an appointment with a nurse.
Similarly new phones lines have been added at Glenside within the last few months to help ensure patients are easily able to access the surgery by phone and late evening GP appointments, between 6-8pm, are available for all Beacon patients at Plympton Health Centre on a Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and at Ivybridge Health Centre on a Tuesday and Thursday.
Dr Jonathan Cope, managing partner and GP at Beacon Medical Group, said: “Along with every other practice in the country we are trying our hardest to meet ever rising demand in the face of a national recruitment crisis for both GP’s and Practice nurses. I am really proud of our fabulous team who are all working above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that we continue to provide the highest possible standard of care to all those needing our help.
“By bringing new services into the community setting, and by working more closely with Derriford Hospital and Livewell we hope that we are able to improve access to specialist advice.
“For many years all of the different parts of the healthcare system have been moving further apart and working less closely together. We are striving, through our National Association of Primary Care status as a rapid test site under their ‘Primary Care Home’ model, to bring all of these partners together and to put our patients’ needs first and foremost.”
The GP National Survey was carried out by NHS England together with Ipsos Mori. Of the 232 surveys sent out to Beacon patients, 124 were returned representing a 53% response rate.